Located in Rexburg, Idaho, the Legacy Flight Museum opened to the public in 2006 offering visitors the opportunity to examine up close some of the historical aircraft that were built to protect the country’s freedom. Started by local aircraft enthusiast John Bagley, the museum collection grew to include a dozen aircraft, all of which are maintained in pristine condition and are airworthy. Every second year the museum hosts an air show with many of the museum’s aircraft taking to the skies, along with aerobatic pilots and their own airplanes. But these classic aircraft are not only dusted off and flown every two years, they are a familiar sight in the skies above Rexburg throughout the year.
The Beechcraft Staggerwing D17S was considered in the 1930s to be a top-of-the-range airplane designed with business executives in mind. With its upper wing further back than the lower wing, each Staggerwing was built by hand and powered by a 450 HP Pratt and Whitney radial engine. When the airplane first hit the market, it was during the depression and considered to be pricy at between US$14,000 and US$17,000, but by the time World War II came around Beechcraft had sold 424 Staggerwing aircraft. The airplanes speed and durability also made it popular in the new sport of air racing. It won the 1933 Texaco Trophy Race, and in 1937 Jackie Cochran set a women’s speed record of 203.9 mph, reaching an altitude of more than 30,000 feet and finishing third in the 1937 Bendix Trophy Race. British diplomat Capt. H.L. Farquhar flew around the world in a Beechcraft Staggerwing Model B17R in 1935, covering a distance of 21,332 miles. Visitors can get a close look at this fantastic airplane that made its way into the record books a number of times.
Another legendary airplane on display is a P-51D Mustang fondly dubbed ‘Ole Yeller’, previously flown by legendary pilot Bob Hoover. Widely considered to be one of the founders of modern aerobatics, Hoover has numerous military medals, and is listed as the third greatest aviator in history in the Centennial of Flight edition of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
Other airplanes on display at the Legacy Flight Museum include a Grumman TBM-3 Avenger, a North American T-6 Texan, a Howard DGA-15, an L-52 Grasshopper, a P-63 King Cobra and an O-1 Bird Dog. The Legacy Flight Museum is open between Memorial Day and Labor Day from Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm and From Labor Day to Memorial Day on Fridays and Saturdays from 9am to 5pm weather permitting.
To mark a century of training the Navy’s top pilots, and more than 50 years since the opening of the National Museum of Naval Aviation, the Pensacola Naval Air Station held a gala on September 20, 2014, attended by a host of dignitaries, some of whom were once trainees at the legendary institution. The event featured a slide presentation paying tribute to the first naval aviators, as well as a speech by Jeb Bush Jr., grandson of former President George H.W. Bush, during which he read a letter from his grandfather. Also present was former US Navy Blue Angels pilot, now Aviation Museum director, retired Navy Captain Bob Rasmussen, who expressed his hope that the museum will continue to expand, as it has since it opened in 1962.
Located just southwest of the Pensacola city limits the Naval Air Station Pensacola is often referred to as “The Cradle of Naval Aviation”. It is the home base of the Blue Angels, and the initial training base for Navy, Marine and Coast Guard pilots, as well as Naval Flight Officers. It is also home to the National Naval Aviation Museum, offering visitors the opportunity to discover the history of naval aviation through exhibits, multimedia displays, an IMAX theater and more.
The entrance hall of the museum features a static display of an F14 Tomcat, with bronze statues of support personnel preparing the iconic aircraft for takeoff. Upon entering the museum itself, visitors will see superbly restored vintage aircraft suspended overhead. There are more than 150 aircraft at the museum, ranging from early World War I through to modern day. Large-scale models of aircraft carriers, complete with aircraft on their flat decks, give visitors an idea of the immense size of these craft.
On most Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, between March and November, the Blue Angels can be seen practicing in the skies above the museum. Practice starts at 11:30 am and continues for about an hour. There is a viewing area with bleachers and visitors may bring lawn chairs, although it should be noted that for security reasons, no backpacks, daypacks etc. are permitted in the area during practice.
Entrance to the museum and to watch the Blue Angels practice sessions is free of charge. For a fee, visitors can watch an aviation themed movie in the IMAX theater, or experience what it’s like to be a jet plane pilot in the Flight Simulator. Visit the National Naval Aviation Museum website for more information and to plan your visit.
The program for this exciting two-day event includes the USAF Thunderbirds; Iron Eagle Aerobatic Team; Bill Gordon Red Baron Stearman, John “Skipper” Hyle T-6; Scott Yoak P-51 Quick Silver; and Jet Aircraft Museum Mako Shark. For more information visit www.rocairshow.info
Date: 16-17 August 2014
Venue: Greater Rochester International Airport
State: New York
Dubbed the “Miracle on the Hudson” and described as “the most successful ditching in aviation history”* the story of US Airways Flight 1549 is legendary. On January 15, 2009, the Airbus A320-200 had 150 passengers and five crew members on board when it took off at 3:27 pm EST from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport en route to Charlotte/Douglas International Airport as a stopover before heading to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Just three minutes into the flight, on its initial climb out, the plane struck a flock of Canada Geese just northeast of the George Washington Bridge, resulting in a sudden loss of engine power. Thanks to the quick thinking of the crew, led by Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger, the airplane was ‘landed’ intact on the icy Hudson River with all on board being rescued by nearby watercraft and ferries as the Airbus slowly sank. Visitors to the Carolinas Aviation Museum can view the complete original airplane, as well as viewing videos detailing the rescue of passengers, the recovery of the Airbus from the Hudson River and its transportation from New York to the museum at the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The Carolinas Aviation Museum focuses on the stories behind the various aircraft on display, an example being the CH46-D Sea Knight helicopter which was used in both Vietnam and the Gulf War. One of the remarkable accounts presented by the museum is of Medal of Honor recipient Marine Corps Aviation Private First Class Raymond Michael Clausen Jr. who, during the Vietnam War, ran across a mine field six times to rescue twenty Marines who had been injured crossing that very field. Clausen carried some, while those who could walk followed him, assuming that he knew where the mines were planted and how to avoid them. He didn’t, but was willing to risk his life to save the lives of others.
Other military aircraft on display include a Douglas A4 Skyhawk, Grumman F-14D Tomcat, Vought A-7 Corsair II, PT-17 Stearman, P-80, D-558-1 Skystreak, McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, AV-8 Harrier II and EC-120E Hercules. In the Civil Aircraft category, visitors will be able to view the historic Wright Flyer, the unique Ercoupe, the Savoia Marchetti single-engine biplane flying boat, and the most popular small single engine aircraft ever made – the Cessna 150.
The mission of the Carolinas Aviation Museum is to tell the stories of aviation pioneers, thereby inspiring future generations to write aviation’s next chapter. Visitors to the museum will no doubt agree that this is a mission accomplished.
*quote attributed to Kitty Higgins of the NTSB
Moored at Alameda Point (former Naval Air Station Alameda) in San Francisco Bay, the aircraft carrier USS Hornet is a registered State and National Historic Landmark which has been open to the public since October 1998. This magnificent floating museum has the distinction of having participated in two defining historical events in the 20th century – World War II and the Apollo 11 space mission. It is fitting then, that at the official opening of the museum on October 17, 1998, the key speaker was Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin.
In addition to being the principal reason for visiting the museum, the USS Hornet (CVS-12) aircraft carrier, has a number of different types of aircraft on display, both on the Flight Deck and the Hangar Deck of the ship. These include the T-28B Trojan military trainer; the TBM-3E Avenger WWII torpedo bomber; the US-2B Tracker ASW utility aircraft; the TA-4J Skyhawk trainer aircraft; the F8U-1 Crusader supersonic fighter from the Vietnam War era; the S-3B Viking long-range aircraft; and the F14A Tomcat used in the Gulf War (and immortalized in the movie Top Gun).
One of the highlights of the USS Hornet Museum is its Apollo Splashdown Display. When the Apollo 11 moon mission took place in 1969, the USS Hornet CVS-12 was selected as the Prime Recovery Ship (PRS) to retrieve the astronauts when they splashed down. The operation was carried out flawlessly, and four months later the Hornet recovered the crew of Apollo 12 – the second manned mission to the moon. The display documenting these historic events, and other space exploration, includes memorabilia and photographs from the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 splashdowns; the Sikorsky SH-3H Sea King helicopter used in the filming of the movie Apollo 13; the Mobile Quarantine Facility used by Apollo 14 astronauts; and the Apollo Command Module CSM-011 used for the unmanned suborbital flight test AS-202 in August 1966.
Visitors to the USS Hornet Museum can watch a short video on the ship’s history and take a self-guided tour through the ship. Museum docents are always on hand to answer questions and provide additional information. Moreover, the museum runs a series of “Living Ship Days” where participants have the opportunity to experience an aircraft carrier in action by means of simulated flight operations, mission briefings and meeting former crew.
Located at the Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, Arizona, the Pima Air & Space Museum is home to nearly 300 aircraft, as well as the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame. The museum is closely associated with the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG), keeper of the largest aircraft preservation and storage facility in the world, often referred to simply as the ‘Boneyard’ as it is the final resting place for many aircraft. Visitors to the museum can enjoy a bus tour of the 2,000 acre Boneyard where they will hear interesting stories about some of the 4,000 aircraft stored there.
The term ‘Boneyard’ may give the impression that the aircraft at the 309th AMARG serve no purpose, and indeed a large number are no longer of any use, but some of the planes will be restored and possibly fly again – at least at air shows and special events – while other aircraft may yield valuable parts to use in restoration projects.
Among the aircraft in the Boneyard is the only airplane in the world to have received an honorary Purple Heart – a prestigious US military decoration awarded to men and women wounded or killed in armed conflict. The C-130’s engine and wings were damaged by gunfire during Vietnam, and as technicians were battling to fix it, they were fired at again. They managed to get the airplane going, took off and landed in the nearest safer spot, thereby saving lives – and the airplane.
Another airplane of interest is a Navy LC-130F which was stuck in Antarctica for 17 years, often buried so deep in snow that all that was visible was the tip of its tail and tips of some of the props. After being dug out of the snow, the LC-130F was repaired and continued in service for another ten years before being brought to the Boneyard in Arizona.
Visitors to the Pima Air & Space Museum can take their time viewing the indoor and outdoor exhibits, as well as viewing the restoration work taking place in Hangar 5. The Dorothy Finley Space Gallery offers the opportunity to look inside a training example of an Apollo space capsule, experience interactive exhibits, see a moon rock and learn about the history of the space race. Other exhibits include WWII barracks, aviation ground support vehicles and outside airplane exhibits.
Opening times and tour times are seasonal, so it’s best to check the Pima Air & Space Museum website when planning your visit.
The Buckeye Air Fair program includes Aviation Demonstrations; Aircraft Displays; the Arizona SciTech Festival; a Kid’s Zone and Car Show. Visitors can also explore the Lauridsen Aviation Museum and there weill be food vendors, booths, entertainment and more. For more information on this family-fun event, please visit www.buckeyeairfair.com
Date: 23 February 2014
Venue: Buckeye Municipal Airport
Country: United States
Located on Miramar Way in San Diego, California, the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum offers visitors the opportunity to view a wide range of aircraft and military vehicles, along with exhibits and artifacts detailing the exciting history and fascinating legacy of the United States Marine Corps Aviation. In summer months, the museum has scheduled days during which visitors can sit in the cockpit of a static airplane, examine the controls and get the feeling of what it must be like to be a real pilot. Visitors can also take a stroll along the Walk of Memories which features memorial bricks inscribed with the names of US Marines.
Referring to a member of the United State Marine Corps, the military slang term ‘leatherneck’ comes from the leather collar of the uniform once worn by British and American marines and soldiers in the 18th century. Today the term is taken to refer specifically to a US Marine, and the dress blue uniforms of US Marines still feature the leather stock collar. Fastened by two buckles at the back, the stiff leather collar supported the soldier’s neck giving him an upright ‘military’ posture, allowing him to better aim his rifle and protecting his neck from sword blows.
Static displays at the museum include the CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter known as Lady Ace 09 which flew the last Ambassador of the United States to Vietnam, Graham Martin, out of South Vietnam prior to the Fall of Saigon in April 1975. Other aircraft on display include a Bell AH-1J “Sea Cobra” attack helicopter; a Bell Model 214ST “Huey” which was captured from the Iraqi Air Force; Douglas A-4C and A-4F “Skyhawks”; a Douglas F4D-1 “Skyray” fighter-interceptor aircraft; Grumman A-6E “Intruder” attack bomber aircraft; Grumman F9F-2 “Panther” fighter bomber aircraft; Grumman F9F-8P “Cougar” tactical reconnaissance aircraft; a range of McDonnell-Douglas aircraft and Sikorsky aircraft, among others.
As the only museum in the world dedicated to preserving the history of Marine Corps Aviation, the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum has plans to extend the museum and facilities to make the visitor experience even better. Currently the museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 3:30pm, with the option of making arrangements for other times. Be sure to stop in at the museum store and buy something to remind you of your visit to the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum.
Located adjacent to the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California, the March Field Air Museum was opened to the public on December 19, 1979. At the dedication ceremony the keynote address was delivered by Lt. General James P. Mullins, the 15th Air Force Commander. At that time the museum’s collection of photographs, paintings, documents and model airplanes detailing the history of the base from its inception in 1918 was housed in the Air Force Base theater building. In addition to the museum building, there was a park nearby where primarily historic aircraft were on display. In less than two years the museum’s collection had grown to such an extent that it needed new premises, and was moved to the former commissary building which was big enough to accommodate up to three aircraft indoors along with the growing collection of memorabilia.
Today, visitors to the March Field Air Museum will find more than 70 historic aircraft on display, including the famous Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” and World War II aircraft such as the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-29 Superfortress, the B-25 Mitchell bomber and the Douglas A/B-26 Invader. Many of these aircraft are on loan from the USAF Museum at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Aircraft on display that are owned by the museum include an A-37 “Dragonfly” Cessna; C-54Q “Skymaster” Douglas; an FO-141 Folland “Gnat”; an H-21B “Workhorse” Piasecki; a MiG-19; a MiG-21F-13; and Mig-23BN, among others.
In its Heritage Courtyard, the museum features a Freedom Wall with stone plaques engraved with the wording of documents that have shaped the history of the United States, including the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address and the Constitution. Also in the courtyard is the Distinguished Flying Cross National Memorial, dedicated on October 27, 2010, along with the War Dog Memorial Sculpture dedicated to dogs and their handlers. Members of the public can purchase tiles, inscribed with a message of their choice, as part of these monuments or the courtyard. Funds raised are used to maintain and extend the museum. Plans are underway to install a monument honoring Women in Aviation in the Heritage Courtyard of the March Field Air Museum.
Located in San Bernardino Country, California, the city of Chino has two museums which will be of interest to aviation enthusiasts – the Planes of Fame Air Museum and the Yanks Air Museum, both of which are located at the Chino Airport. The Planes of Fame Air Museum has a large collecting of both flying and static aircraft and is the base for restoration of rare and historic aircraft from around the world, while the Yanks Air Museum, as the name suggests, is devoted to restoring, preserving and exhibiting American aircraft and aviation-related artifacts.
Established by Edward T. Maloney in January 1957, the Planes of Fame Air Museum was initially located in Claremont, California, and was known as The Air Museum. At that time a group of volunteers undertook to restore derelict aircraft to an airworthy condition to take to the skies once more, and this remains a priority of the museum. When the museum’s collection became too large for its Claremont premises it was moved in 1962 to a venue close to Ontario Airport in California, before being moved again in 1970 to Chino Airport, where it remains today. The venue at Chino Airport features a hands-on aviation youth education center, offices, a gift shop, a library and restoration facilities. Display areas include aircraft from the Korean War, Vietnam War and the so-called Cold War era (1947-1991). The Japanese aircraft collection at the museum includes the only airworthy Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter in the world, as well as an Aichi D3A such as those seen in the memorable movie Tora Tora Tora about the historic attack on Pearl Harbor.
With more than 160 aircraft in its collection, the Yanks Air Museum has the most extensive private collection of American World War II aircraft in the world, many of which are the last of their kind. Rare WWII aircraft in the collection include the P-40 Warhawk, P-51A Mustang, P-38 Lightning, P-47M Thunderbolt, F6F Hellcat and B-25 Mitchell. Visitors to the museum can take a behind-the-scenes look at aircraft restorations as they take place in the Restorations Hangar, with dedicated staff and volunteers using the techniques of the eras the various aircraft were manufactured in to restore them to their original state – a fascinating process worth checking out.